We are pleased but not totally surprised that this spring, Levi’s will debut a pant that is 20 percent recycled material. After all, ever since the first coal miner put on a pair of Levi’s in 1873 and said to himself, “I’m going to go out and make money and get mercury poisoning, but hell if I ain’t gonna look good doing it,” Levi’s have been cool. Turning 3.5 million water, soda, and beer bottles into polyester fiber (which will then be woven with cotton fiber to make fabric) is just the next step in that cool evolution.

The material is called Cone Denim, and it has little flecks of gold and green in it — from the bottles. That’s kind of cool, though we always wonder about breathability with synthetics, and that probably applies to cotton/plastic blends. (Since Levi’s is based in San Francisco/Northern California, body odor might not be high on their list of concerns, but we’re just letting them know it does cross our minds from time to time.) But according to the San Francisco Chronicle, Levi’s Global President James Curleigh promises that with this particular denim, “comfort, style and wearability is equal or enhanced.” Fair enough.

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There are only 400,000 items being made with this Cone Denim, so if you want to be on the cutting edge, you better get in line. Otherwise you’ll be stuck making your own plastic pants out of a couple of Mountain Dew two-liters and a codpiece.

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